BRANTFORD – An Iroquois hockey player is the newest member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Brantford Bulldogs.
Ben Radley, 15, was drafted by the Bulldogs in the third round (58th overall) in the OHL’s Priority Selection Draft held April 22.
“It was a dream come true,” Radley told The Leader after the draft. “It was even better to get drafted watching it with my family.”
Watching with Radley were his extended family including his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
“I’m very excited I got to spend that time getting drafted with them there,” he said.
Being drafted is one thing, being drafted by the Bulldogs is another for Radley.
“Brantford won the Memorial Cup last year so it’s pretty special being drafted by them,” he said adding it was a bit of a surprise when he was chosen by the organization.
Leading up to the draft, several teams had reached out to him through the OHL Draft Combine, but the Bulldogs were not one of them until draft day.
“On the blueline, Radley brings a diverse skill set, both skilled and physical at 6’0’’/170,” said the Bulldogs in a statement after the draft selection. “Radley posted 14 goals and 32 assists for 46 points in 36 games to lead the Petes back-end to an OMHA Championship.”
Going into the draft, Radley was expected to go in the top-60 by OHL scouts. Mat Goodman from OHL Prospects called Radley an exciting defender.
“He is the type of defenceman that does everything well and can be trusted in just about any situation,” Goodman said in a pre-draft report. “He was often entrusted with ‘quarterbacking’ the Petes’ power-play throughout the season and his quick feet and awareness with the puck make him ideal for the position.”
Radley played for the Peterborough Petes U16 AAA organization in 2022-23. Previously he played in the Upper Canada Cyclones and Rideau St. Lawrence Kings organizations. Radley started minor hockey with the South Dundas Lions.
He credited his early success in defence to South Dundas Lions coaches Randy Mullin and Brian Shaver, who moved him from centre to defence when they coached him.
The Bulldogs organization has a long history in the OHL. The team is relocating to Brantford from Hamilton temporarily beginning the 2023-24 season as the team’s Hamilton home is undergoing a significant renovation project. Prior to moving to Hamilton in 2015, the team was known as the Belleville Bulls.
Radley is pretty clear about what his next steps are.
“Just go to camp, enjoy the experience, give my best effort, and hopefully I can crack the lineup as a 16-year old,” he said. “At the end of the day though, I’m just going to give it my all and make some awesome memories.”